The 2000 CSNY were significantly superior than the 1974 CSNY.
In 00 David Crosby had finally kicked a lifetime of serious drug addiction, Stills had been kicked so thoroughly by life his bloat was all in his body, and Nash and Young were still pretty hot stuff -especially Young.
In 74 none of this applied and on top of that, the soundsystem in arenas had yet to come of age so four part harmonies and folk rock were having problems being heard and anyway, Bob Dylan and the Band were also touring and performing the apocalyptic sound of rock hell in the USA documented on Before The Flood (an era for Dylan begging to be the next of the Bootleg Series). Dylan was proto punk, listen to the thunderous intro to “Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I Go Mine)”.
So yeah 74 was not 00, and it wasn’t 70 either, where the excellent 4 Way Street liver comes from.
So I have no explanation how the beginning to age, drug and ego riddled, delusional, in fighting, Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young managed to have played so much excellent music on the 74 tour, enough for this document, put together by Graham Nash from nine recorded shows, to be better than either my 2000 boot or the 1971 4 Way Street. Nash noted that Young was on fire, but there was more than that.
The extended guitars that introduces “Love The One Your With” and answers Dylan’s “Most Likely” handily is Stills, and the best “Almost Cut My Hair” ever is Crosby, Nash ignores “Marrakesh Express” and gave himself the weakest of the album, but, yeah, it is Young peaking in 74, From an off the cuff joyous “Goodbye Dick”, to two songs I’ve never heard before, “Love Art Blues” and “Pushed It Over the End,” through to gorgeous acoustic versions of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” with Crosby and Nash’s delicate harmonies and “Long May You Run”, the man was way at the top of his game
But the CSNY 74 is about the rockers and with two blistering guitarists, who would go their own ways soon after this tour ended, for obvious reasons it appears, the album feels like a testament to a CSNY we weren’t quite aware of, Certainly the dreadful American Dream, their grand return to the studio, gave no indication they were capable of this. “Love The One Your With”, “Immigration Man” (still very very appropriate) and “Wooden Ships” are all very powerful, and that’s just the first three songs.
How did this happen, that isn’t the history we’ve heard of. Maybe they weren’t capable of it. Maybe they were the picture you put on the front page of a dating service, the one where something in your expression and the way the light hits you makes you look like Brad Pitt, when most of the time you look like Jonah Hill. But CSNY 74 begs a different answer as this near perfect act of excavation seems to prove.
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